Botswana News

Southern Africa: Government Pledges to Work for Success of SADC Force

Maputo — The Mozambican government on Thursday promised to work to ensure the success of the mission of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in eliminating the terrorist groups operating in parts of the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

Foreign Minister Veronica Macamo made this pledge during an audience she granted to the special representative of the SADC Standby Force, Mpho Molomo of Botswana, who is effectively the diplomatic face of the mission.

During the meeting, Macamo said “the Mozambican government will collaborate in all that is necessary for the success of the mission”.

The arrival of the Standby Force, she added, was a symbol of the efforts of African leaders to eradicate terrorism. “We shall join our efforts to say that, on our continent, and particularly in SADC, we don’t want terrorism”, she stressed.

For his part, Moloma said that the terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado have dislodged the people of this province from their land, and have had a damaging impact throughout southern Africa, “despite the distance that separates our countries”.

“We are here, at the invitation of the Mozambican government, with the mandate of bringing the solidarity of SADC, and to make operational the mutual defence pact which establishes that an attack against one is an attack against all”, he declared.

Initially, the mission of the SADC force is due to last for three months, but this mandate can be extended depending on how the situation evolves in the theatre of operations. The exact size of the Standby Force has yet to be confirmed, but a report from a technical mission presented to the SADC summit held in Maputo in late June recommended the immediate dispatch of a force of almost 3,000 troops to Cabo Delgado. The detailed proposal was for three light infantry battalions of 630 troops each, two special forces squadrons of 70 troops each; two attack helicopters; two armed helicopters; two surface patrol ships; one submarine; one maritime surveillance aircraft as well as other logistical support.